Spiders for Kids - why do spiders spin webs?
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Spiders

Spider
A fossil spider

Spiders evolved from annelid worms beginning about 540 million years ago. They were among the first land creatures with more than one cell.

By about 300 million years ago, spiders evolved silk and spinnerets and could spin webs. They probably ate other early arthropods, and lived on the ground among the big ferns and mosses that grew all over the earth at this time.

Orb web
An orb web

At about the same time, the first bigger land animals began to come out of the water: frogs and salamanders. These ate spiders.

The earliest evidence of an orb web, the round kind that is the most normal kind of spider web, comes from one that was preserved in amber about 110 million years ago, but spiders were probably making these webs as early as 135 million years ago. That's because flying insects like grasshoppers and bees were evolving at this time, and so the spiders evolved webs to catch them. At the same time, birds also evolved that could eat the bees and grasshoppers - and also eat spiders.

To find out more about insects and crabs, check out these books from Amazon.com or from your library:

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Copyright 2012-2014 Karen Carr, Portland State University. This page last updated 2014. Powered by Dewahost.
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